Classy Chelsea loanee Gilmour starting to hit his stride for Canaries

Norwich City's Billy Gilmour during the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwich. Picture date:

Billy Gilmour played the full match as Norwich drew 0-0 with Wolves at Carrow Road - Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Quality in possession was the basic expectation of Billy Gilmour as he joined on loan from Chelsea amid much hype - and Scotland’s rising star is starting to produce the goods. 

After falling out of favour under Daniel Farke, the 20-year-old got his City career back on track with an energetic display and an assist during the 2-1 win over Southampton, with his corner setting up Grant Hanley’s headed winner. 

That ensured Gilmour would retain his starting role for Dean Smith’s second game in charge and he continued his progress by having the most touches (82) and most completed passes (61) of the Norwich players during Saturday’s positive 0-0 home draw with in-form Wolves. 

Having again started on the right of a midfield three, the complexion of the Scot’s challenge changed in the 35th minute when Mathias Normann was forced off by pelvis pain, dropping into the anchor role as Lukas Rupp moved into his position. 

While he couldn’t force the breakthrough, the former Rangers trainee was in the thick of the action and put in his best display since his City debut. 

The opening weekend brought a 3-0 defeat to Liverpool at Carrow Road but the Canaries were very much in that game until the second was scored in the 65th minute, running out of steam after a disrupted pre-season. 

Statistically, that remains Gilmour’s best display yet, with 83 touches, four tackles, 64 completed passes and 54 carries of the ball.  

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He came close to those numbers against Wolves with 77 touches, 61 completed passes and 43 carries but with a season-high of nine progressive passes, based on data from FBref.com. Against Liverpool, Gilmour didn’t register a progressive pass. 

The loanee delivered a deep corner in the fourth minute but Hanley could only loop a header over on the stretch. 

Three minutes later and Gilmour drew a big cheer from the home fans as he battled to get goal-side of Hwang Hee-Chan and make a tackle 

His top-level ability was on show in the 17th minute, exchanging a nice one-two with Teemu Pukki and playing Josh Sargent into the penalty area, only for the American to be crowded out. 

Milot Rashica's determined charge allowed Gilmour to thread Pukki into the left channel soon after but the striker hesitated and couldn't get a left-footed shot away before Conor Coady could recover to make the block.

A good intercepting header to Pukki came to nothing and he wasn’t able to make the most of a classy pass into the right channel from Normann, before the first booking of his Norwich career in the 27th minute. 

Hwang was again threatening to break on the right but Gilmour, no doubt remembering that he failed to make a tackle in the build-up to Leicester’s winner in August, clipped the winger as he tried to get goal-side and was shown a yellow card for thwarting the counter. 

Joao Moutinho of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Billy Gilmour of Norwich in action during the Premier L

Norwich midfielder Billy Gilmour tracks Joao Moutinho of Wolves - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

More creativity followed four minutes later, with a sharp pass to Pukki. The Finn wriggled towards goal and was hauled back as Joao Moutinho took a booking for the visitors with a tactical foul, with Rashica curling the free-kick wide. 

Moving to the deeper role after Normann’s exit, there was a nervous moment as Gilmour undercooked a pass to Aarons in his own half, only for Rupp to charge back and help thwart the danger. 

With heavy rain falling and already booked, the youngster couldn’t risk a tackle as Ruben Neves charged past him so was thankful to a crunching tackle from Brandon Williams ending the attack superbly. 

There was more sideways passing from the anchor role, becoming more of a focal point, but he arrowed a pass over the Wolves defender in the 42nd minute that Sargent did well to control but could only cross to the keeper’s arms. 

Gilmour also spread the play to Aarons in space just before the break, which led to the right-back exchanging a one-two with Rupp and forcing a crucial save from Jose Sa. 

The second half became more of an enabling role, with Rupp and Kenny McLean roaming energetically as City pushed for the opening goal but was certainly still busy. 

There was a penalty claim in the 56th minute after initially hesitating to shoot when found by Sargent on the edge of the box. Instead, he knocked the ball around Nelson Semedo and was bumped to the floor, but the referee wasn’t interested. 

Again getting forward on the hour mark and being found by Rashica, a sharp pass into Rupp saw the German attempt an ambitious turn in the box that was thwarted. 

His radar was faulty a minute later though after great play from McLean to win back the ball, with Gilmour playing a through-ball to the clearly offside Williams, who left the ball, leaving Gilmour to chase in vain before Semedo cleared. 

There was a crucial tackle on halfway to prevent Rayan Ait-Nouri from breaking away on the counter-attack in the 83rd minute and soon after Gilmour was tracking speedy substitute Adama Traore across the pitch and applying the pressure to help Aarons clear the danger. 

VERDICT: The most consistent performance yet from Gilmour, mixing tenacity and passing class. Had to be more selfless once moved into the anchor role but another performance of progression to build confidence and rhythm. 

RATING: 7 out of 10 

NCFC EXTRA: Gilmour praises new Norwich City boss after Wolves draw